Livingston charter commission offers minor changes

The Livingston Parish Charter Review Commission hired free legal counsel Tuesday and agreed on a handful of minor tweaks for the charter provisions dealing with the Parish Council.

Tuesday marked the commission’s third meeting but the first time the group delved into the task of reviewing the parish government’s founding document for possible improvements.

Recommended changes will be presented to the Parish Council for a decision on which, if any, will be placed on a future ballot for voter approval.

The biggest tweak the group recommended Tuesday was to lengthen the amount of time the Council Clerk’s Office has to present a copy of a newly adopted ordinance to the parish president for signature or veto.

The Home Rule Charter gives the clerk three days, excluding weekends and holidays, to do so.

The commission recommended extending the deadline to seven days.

The group discussed but did not clarify whether “holidays” would include Fridays, when the Council Clerk’s Office is closed.

Denham Springs attorney Bob Morgan, who agreed to serve as the group’s legal counsel without pay, said he would interpret “holidays” to include Fridays or any day on which the office is closed.

Other recommended changes included clarifying that the council members’ pay is “compensation” rather than a “salary,” specifying that they may receive reimbursement for “properly authorized vouchered expenses consistent with parish ordinance and state law” and clarifying the acquisition and disposal of roads and servitudes must be done by ordinance.

The commission will discuss charter provisions dealing with the executive branch, or parish president’s administration, at its next meeting Feb. 17.